You can now play Half-Life: Alyx without VR

You can now play Half-Life: Alyx without VR

Written by 

Tom Chapman


31st Mar 2023 11:48

What is it with Valve's aversion to the number three? While we've got to accept we're probably never going to get Half-Life 3, let's spare a moment to remember Half-Life: Alyx

A mere 13 years after Half-Life 2: Episode Two seemingly closed the doors on Alyx Vance's story, she returned for the prequel shooter. Moving with the times, Half-Life: Alyx tried to make the most of VR technology but failed to make the same mark as its predecessors.

You can play Half-Life: Alyx without VR

We find ourselves asking what Half-Life: Alyx would've been if it hadn't limited its market to those willing to splash out on a VR headset. Wonder no more, as players have found a way to access Half-Life: Alyx without the need for a VR headset and a superpowered PC.

The Steam Deck has proved to be a wonderful thing - unless you're playing The Last of Us Part 1 - and now, there's a mod to play Half-Life: Alyx without VR. As confirmed by Unreal Academy, the Half-Life: Alyx code can be modded.

There are apparently hidden non-VR debug commands that can be activated with modding, although the reviews has been mixed so far. As Alyx was always supposed to be a VR experience, we wouldn't recommend fiddling with Valve's work. 

The mod is in early access, and as it's not finished yet, you can only play the "Half-Life Alyx No VR" mod up to Chapter 7. The big drawback is that you can't use the game's gravity gloves, which was a pretty major part of the Alyx USP. 

Is Half-Life done?

The non-VR Alyx shows what the title could've been if it had hit the mainstream, and we've got to admit, it's a far cry from the high of Half-Life 2. Much like Mass Effect: Andromeda felt like a poor continuation of the series instead of a full-blown sequel, Alyx is sadly lacking. 

Although Valve President Gabe Newell described Alyx as a "forward investment" into long-term technologies, that might've been bad timing. Recent reports from Bloomberg suggest that the PSRVR 2 will have to slash its prices to survive, reiterating how VR is taking off quite like it should.

As for Half-Life 3, Half-Life writer Erik Wolpaw told Did You Know Gaming? in December (via PCGamesN), "We made Half-Life 2, then sort of made a three, but it was an episode, so maybe that was just the luck of the draw.

Explaining Valve's notoriety for not making threequels, Wolpaw added, "I think Valve staff keep getting sucked into other stuff. Some day, hopefully, there will be a three of something." Saying there are potential stories for Portal 3 and Half-Life 3 are all well and good, but until we're playing, we won't get our hopes up. 

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